THE popular Artists in School Service has been scrapped.

Town hall chiefs said funding issues were to blame for the controversial decision to axe the service which for the past 10 years has inspired young people in the classroom.

Proposals to scrap the Artists in School Service were announced in the autumn term and were greeted with anger by artists and teachers who said creativity helped more children master the 3Rs and help children unlock their hidden talents.

Bolton Council bosses agreed that the programme “had valuable benefits for all school age pupils” with research suggesting it enriched the curriculum and helped young people explore issues such as prejudice and discrimination.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “Over the past 10 years the Artists in Schools service has supported schools in delivering their creative curriculum and after school and summer arts activities.

“Recently funding has declined for this service making it no longer viable and following consultation with trades unions, staff and schools the proposal to remove the service has now been approved.”

The Artist in Schools Service was set up to bring together pupils, artists and teachers to inspire learning.

Artists helped schools to deliver the “creative curriculum” through the development of projects across all suspects.

The artists also provided after school and summer activities.

Education chiefs said the service provided a “very high quality experience of the arts” for pupils.

The financial situation worsened when Bury Council withdrew its annual £50,000 contribution in 2011.

The council said pressures on school budgets meant that the number of schools signed up for the “service level agreement” also reduced.

The council spokesman added: “Schools will still be able to make alternative arrangements and buy in freelance art services to fit their specific requirements.”

Suzanne Harulow is a freelance artist who has been running workshops in schools for over 15 years.

She set up in business in 1997, and was one of the first artists to work with Bolton Artists in Schools and said that she was “devastated”, saying art could be used to in all subjects to reach children and enhance the learning for all children.